How Many Protein Shakes Should I Drink Per Day?
If you’re looking to get big and jacked, everybody knows that protein is the most important macronutrient of all three (the other two being fat and carbohydrates).
Protein is so, so important for the body, that getting enough each day is vital. Protein helps the body to build muscle, it assists with recovery, it improves cellular health and function, and it plays an important role in numerous physiological processes within the body.
While protein is found in whole food sources such as meat, fish, seafoods, eggs, dairy, nuts, seeds, and some other plant-based sources, it can sometimes be tough to consume enough from whole food sources alone. This is where protein shakes prove so beneficial.
Protein shakes are easy to use, they’re incredibly convenient, and they provide a healthy serving of protein, amino acids, and other nutrients when you need them the most. The thing to remember however, is that they are not a substitute for real foods. So many should you consume each day?
What are protein shakes?
First off, we need to look at precisely what protein shakes are.
Protein shakes come in a variety of different forms, and can be made from all manner of different types of protein. The most popular protein supplement, however, is whey protein.
Whey protein is made from milk and is a by-product leftover when milk is turned into cheese. When enzymes are added to milk, they cause it to split and separate. The milk separates into solids known as curds, and a liquid known as whey.
The whey is then taken, pasteurized, filtered, and processed into a fine powder, and depending on the recipe, may be combined with flavourings, vitamins, and other amino acids before it is packed up and shipped off to supplement stores, gyms, and health stores all over the globe.
Protein shakes are basically flavoured protein powders that can be added to water, milk, smoothies, or any other liquid, to create a tasty, high protein drink that provides a convenient source of protein quickly.
How much protein do we need each day?
Protein is essential for muscle growth and repair, it promotes cellular health and function, it’s good for the brain, it helps boost strength, it strengthens the bones, and much more besides.
But how many protein shakes do we need each day? Well, in order to determine this, we need to first calculate how much protein we need on a daily basis.
While numbers vary from person to person, the general consensus is that an average person needs around 0.36g of protein for every pound that they weigh. Bodybuilders, athletes, and very large and physically active individuals, however, require between 1g and 1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight.
Just be aware that these numbers are only rough figures, and they will therefore vary from person to person, depending on things such as: size, activity levels, age, metabolism, and so on.
It is worth noting that men generally require around 10% more protein than women as they are typically larger and carry more lean muscle tissue than women.
How much protein does one shake provide?
Again, we can’t provide exact numbers because it depends on a serving size, the manufacturer, and the recipe itself.
To give you a rough idea of how much protein you can expect to consume per shake, it will be between 20g and 30g. Most protein shakes provide 22g – 24g per serving, though there are some out there that will provide closer to 30g.
Can you take too much protein?
It isn’t possible to overdose on protein shakes, or on protein in general. Consuming too much protein on a daily basis, however, could cause unpleasant side effects.
The body is not able to store excess protein in the same way that it stores fats and carbohydrates. What it does instead, is either excrete any leftover protein in urine, or convert a small amount of it into fat.
Contrary to popular belief, too much protein will not damage the kidneys as the amount needed to cause any significant damage to them would simply not be possible for a human being to consume.
How many protein shakes should I drink per day?
Okay, so, the moment of truth. How many protein shakes should you consume per day?
Well, before we can proceed any further, we need to emphasize the fact that protein shakes are not a substitute for whole foods. Protein shakes are designed to supplement a healthy diet and to be used in conjunction with a healthy and balanced diet. For times when it is simply not possible to eat a whole food meal however, a protein shake can be very useful.
The amount of shakes you should consume each day will depend on things such as: muscle mass, activity levels, your diet.
For most people who are of an average build and who train regularly (3 – 5 times per week) 2 protein shakes per day is optimal, with at least 1 coming directly after a workout.
Athletes, bodybuilders, and very large individuals, however, will require more protein each day, and should aim to consume 3 shakes per day, possibly even 4.